There are well known stories about the set of The Exorcist being ‘cursed’. Terrible things befell a number of people involved in the production, but there is one story that many horror fans still don’t know about this iconic movie.
Sadly, it begins with well-loved Bewitched actress Mercedes McCambridge, the sunny face who provided the voice for the terrifying demon of The Exorcist, Pazuzu.
Showing true dedication to the role, this beautiful, experienced actress delved into her darker side, chain-smoking and forcing herself to vomit a raw egg mixture to achieve the appropriate rough, demonic voice.
That evil voice paid off and The Exorcist was an instant hit. However, the real horror came more than ten years later.
November 16, 1987: Mercedes McCambridge’s son, John Markle, put on a wrinkled Halloween mask and shot his family – his wife and their two daughters – before taking his own life.
The shocking murder-suicide sent Mercedes into hiding. Details gradually emerged of John’s motives; he’d been accused of fraudulent activity at his investment company and been fired a few days previously – on Friday the 13th.
AG Mag describe John Markle, 45, as ‘a depressed, angry man eaten up with bitterness toward his movie-star mother… whose approval he wanted desperately,’ but Mercedes McCambridge herself was incredibly compassionate and forgiving of the son who murdered her grandchildren, offering a heartfelt public statement:
“About what happened . . . that’s all there is to say . . . it happened. A Greek tragedy . . . a cast of four beautiful people. The play closed. Thank you for caring.”
The world will remember The Exorcist as one of the most significant horror movies of all time. Sadly, much of the true horror occurred in real life.
This post was written by Nadia Vella